When growing up, we’re told to not play with our food but is there anything better than thwacking the golden crisp top of a crème brûlée? Shards of ember caramelised sugar with its creamy luxurious base hidden underneath. I’ve been wanting to make a crème brûlée for a while now and was inspired by the use of different plants, herbs and spices used at The Ethicurean when I visited that made me want to try this particular flavour out! This is a recipe for a Fig Leaf Crème Brûlée. Not using the actual fruit of the fig tree but those luscious glossy leaves to infuse into the creamy base.
The flavour of the leaves is really interesting, a combination of fig and coconut which is utterly delicious and really unexpected! We have a fig tree in our garden, the weather is never hot enough for the fruit to ripen properly so nice to be able to create something delicious from the tree. I can’t see online if you can buy frozen or dry leaves, they are different from vine leaves normally used in cooking. If you can’t find them, you can try different herb or spice infusions in the milk, remember to give them light toasting to unlock all that flavour.
A chef’s blow torch is the one here, you can grill them but you run the risk of warming the custard underneath and even splitting it. Also, blowtorches are great fun! As long as your sensible, there’s nothing to be scared with caramelising the sugar top!
Equipment You'll NeedPrint
- 6 Fresh Fig Leaves
- 500ml Double Cream
- 100g Caster Sugar, plus some extra for tops
- 6 Free-Range Large Egg Yolks
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Wash and dry the fig leaves, place on a baking tray and under a high grill toast the leaves to release the flavour, until crisp but not charred or will become bitter.
- Pour the cream into a saucepan, bring the cream to the boiling point, then reduce the heat, add the fig leaves and simmer gently for five minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks together in a large heatproof bowl until pale and fluffy.
- Bring the cream back to boiling point. Pour it over the egg mixture, whisking continuously until thickened – this indicates that the eggs have begun to cook slightly.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug, capturing the leaves and squeezing the cream from them. Then use this to fill six ramekins to about two-thirds full.
- Place the ramekins into a large roasting tray and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up their outsides.
- Place the bain-marie onto the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the custards are just set but still a bit wobbly in the middle.
- Remove the ramekins from the water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Chill until needed.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar evenly over the surface of each crème brûlée, then caramelise with a chefs’ blow-torch.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
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